Improving patients’ heart health can raise revenue, too
- Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S., and stroke ranks No. 5.1
- February is American Heart Month, which provides an opportunity to link pharmacy promotions to national events.
- Highlight the multiple ways your pharmacy supports heart health in February, and year round, to build loyalty and recurring revenue.
Heart disease is one of America’s most significant health problems, as it causes 1 in 4 deaths. To increase awareness of heart disease and to prompt individuals to take small actions that can make a big difference, February has been named “American Heart Month.”
From the front end of your pharmacy to the prescription counter, there are multiple ways to improve patients’ heart health and your pharmacy’s bottom line. American Heart Month provides a perfect opportunity to highlight those programs and products.
Five ways to build revenue as you support heart health:
- Provide or expand med sync. As you start or expand your medication synchronization program, focus on at-risk patients who take medications for high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol. Med sync allows you to identify those patients who aren’t taking their medications as prescribed and talk with them to identify problems and offer solutions.
A handout from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can guide you in busting myths about taking cardiovascular medications, such as the myth that patients can stop taking medication if they feel fine or are eating well and exercising. In one study, patients in a med sync program averaged 3.4 more refills per prescription each year, which can add tens of thousands of dollars to a pharmacy’s revenue.2 (Visit Health Mart’s® Medication Synchronization Education Center to discover how to start or improve a med sync program.)
- Promote good nutrition and relevant supplements. While eating well is important for heart health, patients may also benefit from supplements (which tend to be very profitable). You can host a session by a nutrition expert to discuss the best supplements to support heart health and offer heart-healthy recipes through social media links or handouts, but don’t stop there.
Talk about the benefits of Omega-3 for preventing heart and stroke problems, particularly for patients with high triglycerides.3 And, prominently display supplements such as Omega-3 to keep them top of mind. If patients taking statins are having muscle pains, they may benefit from Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10); healthcare providers may also recommend CoQ10 on its own for treating heart disease.4
Talk with patients who are trying to reduce cholesterol levels about whether fiber or sterol supplements would benefit them, and how to take them properly to minimize discomfort.
For patients on aspirin therapy, recommending a high-quality preferred brand such as Health Mart® may save them money over branded products while also earning higher margins for your pharmacy. (See “Supplement Prescription Sales with Profitable OTC Recommendations” for more ideas.)
- Encourage measurable exercise. Your pharmacy can’t compete with a sports store or a high-tech electronics store, but consider stocking and actively promoting products that encourage and measure a person’s activity. This might include resistance bands, scales or personal fitness monitors. Also, unique items such as a peddler exerciser or a hand-exercise squeeze ball can encourage activity among patients with limited mobility. These items fit with promoting heart health and can generate additional revenue with good margins. Use signs throughout your pharmacy; product placement; marketing; and fun, engaging promotions to highlight heart-healthy exercise-related products you offer. Host an education session on healthy exercise and co-sponsor an event such as a 5K.
- Highlight smoking cessation. Smokers who kick the habit reduce their risk of heart disease within a year or two, and reduce their risk of other diseases. Offer encouragement, counseling and products to help patients stop smoking, such as nicotine replacement patches, gums and lozenges. Highlight these products with marketing and in-store signs at times when people are most likely to try to stop smoking, such as February’s American Heart Month and November’s Great American Smokeout.
- Focus on blood pressure monitoring. Encouraging people to “know your numbers” is part of American Heart Month, so talk with patients about knowing and maintaining healthy blood pressure. Schedule a blood pressure and cholesterol screening event. Highlight the blood pressure monitors for sale in your pharmacy, and take time to show people how to use them properly. Give patients a handy paper or card on which they can record and track their blood pressure, with your pharmacy’s logo and information.
Offer your expertise to local media working on stories about American Heart Month, and take part in social media campaigns. (See “Become Your Community’s Go-To Health Expert.”) Partnering with local healthcare providers for activities during American Heart Month can lead to other collaborations.
Look around your pharmacy and you will see ways to not only draw in new patients during American Heart Month, but also to create recurring high-margin revenue streams throughout the year.
1 “Leading Causes of Death,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oct. 7, 2016. LINK
2 “Improve Your Refill Rates and Revenue with Medication Synchronization,” Smart Retailing Rx, April 11, 2014. LINK
3 “Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids,” American Heart Association, Oct. 6, 2016. LINK
4 “Coenzyme Q10,” Mayo Clinic, Nov. 1, 2013. LINK